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Saturday Kids’ Fair offers free activities at Wahtonka campus

Saturday Kids’ Fair offers free activities

The annual Wasco County Kids’ Fair this Saturday, May 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will have the same fun, free activities as always, it’s just at a new location — the Wahtonka Campus.

The fair drew more than 400 people last year, said Teri Thalhofer, director of the North Central Public Health District, and officials wanted more room for the event, which has traditionally been held at City Park.

Some 10 booths will be at the event, aiming at children ages 0 to 8 and has a focus on health, safety and development.

“It’s a fun family activity and it’s free,” Thalhofer said. “We specifically don’t bring vendors in. We want families to have an experience where their kids aren’t begging them to buy something. We’re trying to make it a positive family experience.” Activities will include finger painting and a “story walk,” where families can walk around the track and read story cards — in English and Spanish — about two boys, one who speaks English and one who speaks Spanish, and how they manage to be friends.

“We’re just promoting language and reading as helpful in development,” Thalhofer said. There will also be booths focusing around healthy eating, and Mid-Columbia Fire & Rescue will have the junior fire challenge, where they talk about fire prevention, testing smoke alarms and having exit plans from homes in the event of a fire. The Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education program will be there, as well as Head Start, some local pre-schools and the Mid-Columbia Center for Living, which provides mental health services, will be doing face painting.

The center for living will talk about family wellness, Thalhofer said.

“One of the big issues around child development is maternal depression,” she said. “If a mom is depressed, a child may have development delays because of attachment issues. So we need to make sure family health issues are addressed so kids can develop well.” In addition to booths, The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce will provide a stage and DJ to provide music and entertainment. Several Hispanic dance groups are scheduled to perform.

While the event and booths are free, a lunch of hotdogs, chips and pop will be for sale by the Key Club and the Builder’s Club, which are, respectively, high school and middle school clubs attached to the Kiwanis Club.

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